The Queen of Heaven

The Sixteen - Croydon Minster

The Sixteen – Croydon Minster

Croydon is pretty dire, therefore I went via Guildford for lunch at the Guildford Institute, then on to Croydon.

On coming off the station, a huge tower block. What I assume to be the UK headquarters of the evil Nestlé Empire, whose boss thinks NGOs that advocate water for people as a human right are extremest organisations and peddles infant formula milk in the Third World

Walking through Croydon is dire. It is as though one has been transposed against ones will to the Third World. I walked down a side street where a market was packing up for the day. The smell was as though I was in the Third World.

I was on my way to Croydon Minster where The Sixteen were to play, part of their Choral Pilgrimage 2013.

I had intended to arrive at seven o’clock if not before to get a decent seat. But thanks to the appalling service at an American Diner I did not arrive until 7-15, to find the place was packed. But I was in luck, I managed to bag a half decent seat.

I picked up a couple of CDs with the music for the tour, which Harry Christophers kindly signed. As thanks I gave him The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist.

Last year was the 25th anniversary of The Pilgrimage, and last year was published a special collectors edition. Last year saw the 25th anniversary for The Sixteen of their choral pilgrimage. This year sees the 25th anniversary of The Alchemist, and to mark the occasion, a special collectors edition has been published.

The start of the concert with Palestrina was very clever and very effective. Part of the group at the front, followed by others singing as they walked to the front from the choir stalls. Very moving and brought tears to the eyes.

Miserere by Allegri was something of a disappointment. The group splits in two. Voices from a balcony, would have been great, but buried in the choirs stalls, obstructed by the mass of the building does not work. It may have worked for those on one side of the church who maybe had line of sight, but it certainly did not work for those sitting on the other side of the church. It probably sounded perfect from where Harry Christopher was conducting.

Music by MacMillan was one big mistake. Even stood on its own, it would have been flat, lacking in soul, but back to back with Palestrina and Allegri, was going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Finishing with MacMillan was an even bigger mistake. It was to end on a low not a high. At times harsh, a noise, but just plain ugly. It made no use of the acoustics of the building.

This is like The Proms including rap.

After the concert had finished, a prayer card writ, a candle lit, for my lovely friend Annie who is not well.

Walking through Croydon at night is not a pleasant experience. I hate to think what it is like late at night.

A train to Gatwick, then a train from Gatwick. A long walk home.

On the train from Gatwick, entertained by a couple of teenage girls who decided to dance for me.

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3 Responses to “The Queen of Heaven”

  1. Urban chiq Says:

    It sounds like you’re so knee-jerk reactionary! Hated Croydon. Hated anything not written since 1600s.
    Thanks for not saying a nice word about Croydon. Instead of complaining on arrival at Croydon, maybe you could have taken one of the new trams that run ever few minutes through the town centre and stop near to Croydon Minister? That way you wouldn’t have had to smell the historic Croydon Surrey Street Market shutting up and cleaning up after a busy day.
    Enjoy life through your rose tinted glasses and maybe learn to look on the bright side of life and see the best in people and places?

  2. keithpp Says:

    Yes, trams every few minutes, all the quicker to get out of Croydon.

    Have no objection to music of any period.

    I assume those who rioted, who looted really loved Croydon, loved it so much they tried to burn it to the ground.

  3. Urban chiq Says:

    The rioters were a couple of hundred idiots in a borough of a third of a million people with a better off southern part and a poorer northern part of the borough.
    Yes, with Lunar House here we have extra pressure on our social services, housing etc. Maybe if the snobs and reactionaries dug a little deeper into their pockets and accepted a more Dutch/Scandinavian model of taxation, we could give them some hope? 40 per cent of young people in the north of the borough have no work. Appalling.

    And it’s not helped by people sticking their noses in the air and only seeing the bad in an area.

    But never mind. All the problems are quickly slipping further and further south. Once it was Brixton, then Croydon, next Surrey and Sussex so they’ll be no escape soon for anyone!

    I’ll agree the The Sixteen are brilliant and it’s great to have such scholars singing in such a beautiful Minister, because believe it or not, there are a lot of educated and cultured people in Croydon who equally appreciate a varied and rich diet of culture from classical to world music. You can have `a riot’ in Croydon in many different ways!

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